Stephen Romano Gallery is at it again this month, this time announcing a quadruple, witch-themed bill so heavy and heavenly that I'll just start by listing it all here:
William Mortensen "American Grotesque"
William Mortensen (1897 - 1965) was an American Photographer, primarily known for his Hollywood portraits in the 1920s-1940s in the pictorialist style.
Mortensen began his photographic career taking portraits of Hollywood actors and film stills. In 1931, after being blacklisted and excommunicated from Hollywood, Mortensen moved to the artist community of Laguna Beach, CA where he opened a studio and the William Mortensen School of Photography.
He preferred the pictorialism style of manipulating photographs to produce romanticist painting-like effects. The style brought him criticism from straight photographers of the modern realist movement and, in particular, he carried on a prolonged written debate with Ansel Adams. His arguments defending romanticism photography led him to be "ostracized from most authoritative canons of photographic history. Recent years have brought praise for Mortensen's development of manipulation techniques and a renewed interest in his work.
Rik Garrett "Earth Magic"
"With Earth Magic I've envisioned a matristic, nature-based world; a female-centric, ritualistic community completely apart from the rest of society. This is a history of witchcraft devoid of witch hunts, a race of women who draw their energy and inspiration from the Earth itself. What if there were a truth to the myths of Amazons and the books like Aradia, Gospel of the Witches? What if the fierce Maenads of Greek mythology still existed today, hidden from view? What if these truths were presented faithfully?" Rik Garrett.
Lu Zhang "All the Lost Souls"
featuring an illustrated catalog with essay by Robert Morgan
Stephen Romano Gallery is pleased to present the first ever New York solo exhibition of works by Chinese artist Lu Zhang. Lu's photographic and video performance works are based on her nostalgia and longing for the covert shamanic practices of her homeworld, which she uses to exorcise herself of unwanted excess emotional attachments and baggage. Lu Zhang will be presenting a series of photographic and video works entitled "All The Lost Souls" which is an attempt to conjure through memory, ritual, unleashing of sexual energies as well as through a detachment from all thing that bind us to our past (such as home, family, relations) the spirits that dwell in the landscape of our ecosystem as well as the spirits of the inner landscape. Lu Zhang has previously exhibited at Ouchi Gallery, Steuben Gallery, A.I.R GALLERY, New York, Black box Gallery, New York and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York.
"In Missa Interfectionis"
The Dance of Death, Hexes, Voodoo, Curses and Witchcraft
Group Show featuring the work of:
Colin Christian, Judy Chappus, El Gato Chimney, Darcilio Lima, Soey Milk, Dan Barry, Jumaadi, Jel Ena, Caitlin McCormack, Eric Richardson, Matthew Dutton, Pulu Zhao, Miki Saito, Lu Ke, Caitlin Karolczak, Sarah Jacobs, Phillip Grant, Rithika Merchant, Aunia Kahn, Kim Bo Yung, Gromyko Semper, Romney De Hooghe, Ted Victoria, Ellen Stagg, Found&Lost, Tine Kindermann, Amber Groome, Charles Dellschau, Jennifer Lin, Erna Kd, Lori Field, Amy Friend, Jana Brike, Damian Michaels, Charles Lindsay, So Youn Lee, Peca, vernacular and spirit photography and others TBA.
There will also be a performance art piece, coinciding with these shows:
JODIE LYN-KEE-CHOW "The calling of the light"
performance work - November 7th 2014 8pm
"My recollections come from a childhood reared in the Caribbean, at the edges of standardized Western culture, where daily struggle causes those standards to drift in odd ways. In some ways my idyllic Jamaica no longer exists. An immigrant's memory of their country is both frozen in time and lives a life of its own, and perhaps comes to represent something else entirely. My work aims to pinpoint that fleeting image of a perfect landscape by its raw nature, and wondrous paradox. It is this desire for an ideal landscape that intrigues and invites me to interact with it.
The accumulation of goods, luxurious lifestyles, socio-economic changes, and cultural development carry a political and social intent. The obsession of capital and consumption has informed my process where objects whether functional or not infiltrate a space, questioning its purpose or function. Natural landscapes often set the stage and are combined with media, costuming, and props that are handmade, manufactured, natural and artificial to accessorize the environment.
Most of my work combines performance in the realms of social practice with either ready-made objects or my sculptures or both. Some of these performances address a critical analysis of desire, cultural ideologies, and environmental degradation. Often working with site-specificity, whether in rural to city, suburban to urban I hope to engage the viewer to question respect for societal and cultural norms, and most importantly the state of our natural world."
William Mortensen is definitely having a moment as evidenced by Feral House's forthcoming reprint of his dark photography book, American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen, and Stephen Romano himself has had a large hand in resurrecting his macabre and marvelous work.
And it will be a joy to finally see Rik Garrett's photographs in person. I've met Rik a few times, and had the deep privilege of writing the intro to his monograph, Earth Magic, but I have yet to see an exhibition of them, so this will be a real treat. Happily, my talk with Rik at Catland was rescheduled to Friday, October 17th, the night before the opening of these shows, so stars have truly aligned to unveil his magickal work to NYC that weekend.
The other shows sound tremendous as well. The opening reception for all four is at Stephen Romano Gallery in DUMBO on Saturday, October 18th from 4-8pm, and they willall be on view from October 15th through November 30th.
Thrilled to get to steep myself in so many witch works this autumn, and I imagine you will be, too.